So, last night was my final night at the track with the Gees before I head to Frankfurt (it’s just a nice simple mile or two next Tuesday for me). Afterwards I went for a drink with coach Marc to discuss the plans for the next 12 days, marathon pacing talk, and post-run recoveries.
It was a great opportunity to really look back and think about the hard work that has gone into putting me where I am now, and ultimately where I will be at 10am on Sunday 25th October. When Marc asked for three words to describe the training block, it was simple:
Consistency, Improvement, Enjoyment
When asked why it worked, there was only one answer that I could give: Culpability. Maybe it is just the way my mind works, but knowing that I had to report back on my training at the end of each day or week meant I had to put the effort in. I might have created a plan for myself that involved five runs a week, and that took a similar approach (though probably with slower pacing to go easier on myself), but with no accountability I know for a fact (as evidenced in the past) that I would have easily found excuses for dropping a run or not going out. As it is, I didn’t drop a single run that wasn’t a direct result of injury in the early stages of the plan.
We discussed the plan for next week and I was pleased to have already come up with a target for this. I am not sure that my nutrition is going to change much from what it already is like, though maybe it should, but I have already committed to working on my sleep for the week running up to the race. My aim is to be in bed no later than 10pm with nothing more than a good book – no electronics or TV, and to get a good nights’ sleep (Delilah allowing, of course). This is particularly important because I need to be up so early on Saturday for my flight that I need to bank my sleep early on.
Marc was able to give me some top tips on race-day strategy relating directly to Frankfurt as he has done it recently, so that will ease my nerves if I face similar problems. And he has forewarned me about a stretch of road that is laser-beam straight and about four miles long – risking mind-boggling mid-run depression. A fun game to play apparently will be too admire all the advertising and see whether I can make up whatever the tagline might have been based on the picture – I thought this sounded like a fun game to play regardless of running a marathon.
Looking at race nutrition I think we were both pretty happy that I have that nailed down with the Torq gels that I have used for years, and having been completely caffeine free for the last month I just need to decide now whether I break that with a pre-run coffee or wait for the caffeinated gels to kick in when I use them at about the 18 mile mark.
One glaring omission that I have made in my thoughts about race day are what I am going to do if/when I suffer a dip in motivation etc at mile 20. I was very much of the opinion that perhaps I might bury my head in the sand about this and not really think about it as a possibility. It is though, so I will spend some time this week thinking about these coping strategies – I want to have my armory fully loaded against any and all possibilities on race day, so that all I have to really think about is putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again. Oh and making it back in time to catch my flight home!